Giant-Size Man-Thing #4
Published and © by Marvel, May 1975
Title: “The Kid’s Night Out!”
Synopsis: A high-school student’s death makes the citizens of Citrusville crazier than usual – and draws Man-Thing to town!
Writer: Steve Gerber
Pencilers: Ed Hannigan and Ron Wilson
Inker: Frank Springer
Review: With the exception of an occasional storytelling touch, the art on this lead feature is fairly inconsequential. But this is a writer-driven story, with Steve Gerber seeming to find a “mottled, malformed, malodorous avatar” for his own youthful anger. Credit the author for experimenting, but this one hasn’t aged well.
Title: “Frog Death!”
Synopsis: Landing back in the world of hairless, talking apes, Howard the Duck soon finds himself battling Garko, the Man-Frog!
Writer: Steve Gerber
Artist: Frank Brunner
Review: This early installment of Howard the Duck doesn’t quite have its satire down, but the Frank Brunner art is gorgeous.
Title: “I Entered the … Doorway to Doom!”
Synopsis: A Siberian farmer heads to the mountains in search of gold – and finds invaders from Dimension Z instead!
Artist: Steve Ditko
Review: This Cold-War-era reprint, from Strange Tales #72, is pretty standard stuff, but the art from Steve Ditko is really nice.
Title: “The Man With No Past”
Synopsis: A claustrophobic artist is hypnotized into drawing the rather macabre origin of his debilitating fear.
Penciler: Joe Maneely
Review: Another reprint, this one from Journey into Mystery #2. Joe Maneely’s art is stylish, but not on Steve Ditko’s level.
Grade (for the entire issue): B
Second opinion: “Words are completely inadequate to describe the magnificent Man-Thing lead story.” – Adrian P. Snowdon, FantaCo’s Chronicle’s Series Annual #1, 1983 … “A real bargain for readers even at the hefty price of 50¢!” – Pierre Comtois, “Marvel Comics in the 1970s: An Issue By Issue Field Guide to a Pop Culture Phenomenon: Expanded Edition,” 2021 … Recommended by The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003.
Cool factor: Love that Brunner cover! And Garko, the Man-Frog! And the Steve Ditko reprint, too!
Notable: First Howard the Duck solo story.
Collector’s note: Beware, this issue contains Marvel Value Stamp (Series A) #36 (Ancient One).
Character quotable: “WAAAGH! I’m back on the world of talking apes!” – Howard the Duck, not happy about his return to Earth
A word from the writer: “ ‘The Kid’s Night Out’ is probably the most ambitious experiment yet in Man-Thing’s short but chaotic history.” – Steve Gerber, in introductory comments on this issue’s “Mail-Things!” letters page
Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on May 18, 2010.